Google launched a homepage for a new science and technology conference it will be hosting, Solve For X.
The conference was announced in a 53-second video that reveals very few details about how the conference will operate. The narrator of the video says:
"Let us define 'X.' 'X' is a solution, a solution to a seemingly insurmountable problem, like climate change or cancer--one that affects the world. But what if we redefine 'X' as a challenge, an opportunity for radical thinking, a chance to light up the world with breakthrough ideas and cutting-edge technology--the stuff of science fiction that just might fly after all. Solving for 'X' requires wonder and imagination and the vision to build seemingly impossible solutions to world's biggest problems. Solve for X. Moonshot thinking."
The description on the Solve For X website is nearly just as cryptic. Solve For X website says:
"Solve for X is a place where the curious can go to hear and discuss radical technology ideas for solving global problems. Radical in the sense that the solutions could help billions of people. Radical in the sense that the audaciousness of the proposals makes them sound like science fiction. And radical in the sense that there is some real technology breakthrough on the horizon to give us all hope that these ideas could really be brought to life."
The conference will be an invite-only gathering is designed to attract global innovators and technology-focused presentations according to a report from TechCrunch. Topics will include low-energy desalination, e-waste mining, crowd-sourced protein folding, stretchable silicon biosensors, climate change and more.
The website isn't open to the public because it's currently sitting behind a wall of CSS code, much like the New York Times paywall; however, some people were able to smash the CSS code that confines the website. After taking a close look at the source code, people were able to find more details about the conference and hidden aspects of the website, including how each presentation will work.
In essence, each presentation will last 12 minutes and answer three questions:
1) What is the huge problem you're focused on fixing?
2) What is the product or service that sounds like science fiction but that, if made, would radically improve the problem you just described?
3) And what specifically is the science or technology breakthrough that can give us all hope that such a product or service can be made and released to the world within a decade?
Some of the text revealed from the CSS workaround also emphasizes that the presentations should not be focused on raising funds or lecturing the crowd: "This is not an academic talk. This is a problem-oriented and people-oriented talk. Think to yourself--whose lives will be positively and radically transformed by our moonshot proposal?"
Dates for the first Solve For X Conference have not been revealed at this time.